1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. November Photo Comp is now open with a great new theme.! Come and join in.
    Dismiss Notice

Tropical plants for small area

Discussion in 'Wants Lists' started by minki, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. minki

    minki Novice Gardener

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2013
    Messages:
    263
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Research Scientist
    Location:
    Watford
    Ratings:
    +367
    Hi, i am planning small tropical section at the back of my garden. The area is 24x12 feet. I have bought 3 colocasia and @kirsten has kindly giving me T-rex.
    Please suggest what will look nice in such area. I was thinking some ginger, canna and coleus. My tropical garden knowledge is very limited and so is my budget.
    I was wondering if anyone has some plants going spare, I will be very happy to take them. I will try my best to find something to swap.
    Thanks in advance :)



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  2. longk

    longk Total Gardener

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Messages:
    10,643
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Ratings:
    +20,378
    Will it be a planted area or will you be using pots? The trouble with "tropical" is that they need winter love. So Canna and Gingers are good as they die back in the winter and can go in the shed or garage. Same with bulbs too - Hymenocallis..................
    [​IMG]

    Scadoxus....................
    [​IMG]

    Eucomis....................
    [​IMG]

    Gloriosa..............
    [​IMG]

    Bomarea Edulis (syn. hirtella) should be hardy................
    [​IMG]

    Likewise Alstromeria psittacina..................
    [​IMG]

    What I can offer is a seedling of Mackaya bella...................
    [​IMG]

    It will need winter love.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • HarryS

      HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

      Joined:
      Aug 28, 2010
      Messages:
      7,794
      Gender:
      Male
      Occupation:
      Retired
      Location:
      Wigan
      Ratings:
      +13,374
      Minki , as Longk said cannas are good tropical looking plants . Easy to grow and pretty tough , I just lifted these in November and stored the rhizomes in the garage. I gave up on tropicals a few years ago , as I kept losing them over winter.:sad:

      DSCN1057.JPG
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • minki

        minki Novice Gardener

        Joined:
        Dec 9, 2013
        Messages:
        263
        Gender:
        Female
        Occupation:
        Research Scientist
        Location:
        Watford
        Ratings:
        +367
        Thanks @longk i would love to take Mackaya seedling, but can you please tell me first a) how is thr growth habit, fast or slow? Online its mentioned tht its evergreen but isnt tht in tropical climate? And tht wud make it slow grower isnt it. Or is it like colocasia


        and @HarryS thanks very much fr advice on canna. Yes i will move them in winter to make sure they survive...


        Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
         
      • longk

        longk Total Gardener

        Joined:
        Nov 24, 2011
        Messages:
        10,643
        Location:
        Oxfordshire
        Ratings:
        +20,378
        Slowish.

        Evergreen in my unheated shed too where it just marked time this winter.
         
      • Kristen

        Kristen Under gardener

        Joined:
        Jul 22, 2006
        Messages:
        16,864
        Gender:
        Male
        Location:
        Suffolk, UK
        Ratings:
        +11,487
        On the topic of Bulbs:

        Maybe Allium christophii. Any of the Really Really Big Headed ones too :) There are quite a few other wacky bulbs - the sort where people will do "wow - what's that". Have a look on Anglia Bulbs website perhaps - including looking at the Autumn Despatch ones, which might be the more interesting ones (albeit not for sale just now)

        I grow, from seed as annuals, Ricinus, Nicotiana sylvestris and Leonotis nepetifolia. Still time for Ricinus, but Nicotiana probably on the late side. I have seeds of both (and probably Leonotis too), I'll chuck some in the T. rex packet.

        Bananas: I have Musa Basjoo (which I don't like much, leaves are relatively narrow, but its the most hardy). Musa sikkimensis (germination rate is pants, so I now think it is better to buy a few seedlings off eBay, and grow them on overwinter and plant out following Spring - assuming that the winter kills them - they are reasonably root hardy, and tops will survive if you cocoon them in straw - but you probably won't want to look out onto that all winter.

        Fatsia for hardy backbone. I have a bog standard one with the more interesting (but slower / smaller) Spiders Web and Variegated ones in front.

        Tall grasses. I have Arundo donax with the variegated one in front (as seen in Will Giles amazing town garden in Norwich). Numerous bamboos - the black one (Phyllostachys nigra) probably the most planted. I also Phyllostachys vivax 'Aureocaulis' which has nice thin green stripes o the yellow canes. Worth looking out for those on eBay - when someone has a clump in a pot that has got too big for them / the pot. You can buy them for the same price as a 10L pot with only 4 or 5 strong canes from an exotic plant nursery and get bigger impact sooner.

        I would suggest Cannas from seed (next year). Look out for Canna musifolia grande which has monster leaves (flowers are nothing special) and some other Cannas which have nice leaf (Purple for example). Don't think you can grow striped leaves from seed.

        One of the great things about Exotic planting is you can just stick one-of-something in there. I plant one Nictiana sylvestris, one Cleome, one Ricinus (and interesting one: e.g. the Blue Foliage one) and a Solanum laciniatum (another good "annual" from seed - add the Cleome to that list too!) next to each other and they intermingle and look great. Everywhere else in the garden, other than the Exotic Border, I plant clumps of 5 or 7 of everything - it aint the same!!

        Chuck any Brugs you have in there too. I just plunge them in their pots.

        if you want a quick-win, cheap, plant then Cardons from seed (same thing as Globe Artichokes). They will do Monster-ish in first season. Cut them out in year 2 or 3 when you have more choice things putting on some headroom.

        Paulownia tomentosa. Fabulous stooled (pollarded down to 9" or so). Massive leaves, single stem, gets to about 10' in the year. (That can be grown from seed) Others worth doing that to include Indian Bean - perhaps the Aurea version. I've got something else with complex leaves, forgotten the name.

        There are some photos and commentary on my blog:
        http://kgarden.wordpress.com/projects/exotic-garden/3/#Gallery
         
        • Like Like x 2
        • Informative Informative x 2
        • Kristen

          Kristen Under gardener

          Joined:
          Jul 22, 2006
          Messages:
          16,864
          Gender:
          Male
          Location:
          Suffolk, UK
          Ratings:
          +11,487
          Speed of growth is the thing I like about Exotic gardening - although you have NOTHING in winter (except any Hardy Backbone).

          This is the day before and after planting (02/03 June), and then 03 Sept by which time you can barely walk down the path.

          [​IMG]
           
          • Like Like x 5
          • longk

            longk Total Gardener

            Joined:
            Nov 24, 2011
            Messages:
            10,643
            Location:
            Oxfordshire
            Ratings:
            +20,378
            Two Alliums;

            A.christophii (as per Kristens comment)...................
            [​IMG]

            Totally hardy and self seeds too!

            A bit more tender, but very dramatic, is A.schubertii..................
            [​IMG]
             
            • Like Like x 2
            • Kristen

              Kristen Under gardener

              Joined:
              Jul 22, 2006
              Messages:
              16,864
              Gender:
              Male
              Location:
              Suffolk, UK
              Ratings:
              +11,487
              Ah yes :) I have that one too, and had forgotten. Looks even more dramatic than your photo :)
               
              • Like Like x 1
              • Agree Agree x 1
              • longk

                longk Total Gardener

                Joined:
                Nov 24, 2011
                Messages:
                10,643
                Location:
                Oxfordshire
                Ratings:
                +20,378
                Definitely!
                 
              • minki

                minki Novice Gardener

                Joined:
                Dec 9, 2013
                Messages:
                263
                Gender:
                Female
                Occupation:
                Research Scientist
                Location:
                Watford
                Ratings:
                +367
                Thanks everyone for grwat suggestions.. a trio to garden center is due now :) and vl also look at the bulb website...
                The size of plants and the sheer speed of their growth is quite exciting, especially for novices like me :p


                Sent from my HTC Desire S using Tapatalk 2
                 
              • mowgley

                mowgley Total Gardener

                Joined:
                Aug 16, 2005
                Messages:
                3,564
                Gender:
                Male
                Occupation:
                Wanna be gardener
                Location:
                Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
                Ratings:
                +6,623
                Is it too late to plant A.schubertii @longk
                 
                • Like Like x 1
                • longk

                  longk Total Gardener

                  Joined:
                  Nov 24, 2011
                  Messages:
                  10,643
                  Location:
                  Oxfordshire
                  Ratings:
                  +20,378
                  I doubt very much that you'll find bulbs for sale, although there may be potted up ones in growth for sale out there.
                   
                  • Like Like x 1
                  • Kristen

                    Kristen Under gardener

                    Joined:
                    Jul 22, 2006
                    Messages:
                    16,864
                    Gender:
                    Male
                    Location:
                    Suffolk, UK
                    Ratings:
                    +11,487
                    Grow from seed instead perhaps? You could buy bulbs in Autumn, but if you sow from seed now you might have flowers the year after next (or am I being too optimistic?)

                    Do both perhaps. A few bulbs in the autumn for flowers sooner ... and the from-seed ones to follow on and give you MORE :)
                     
                    • Like Like x 1
                    • PeterS

                      PeterS Total Gardener

                      Joined:
                      Mar 18, 2005
                      Messages:
                      6,629
                      Gender:
                      Male
                      Occupation:
                      Retired
                      Location:
                      N Yorks
                      Ratings:
                      +3,847
                      I am afraid to say Kristen that I think you are being too optimistic. I have grown loads of Allium christophii from seed and they haven't flowered yet after about 4 years. Schubertii is really just a christophii on a bad hair day.

                      I think that Allium seeds need a period of cold stratification. The recommended way seems to be to sow them in November ish and leave them outside - perhaps covered with a piece of glass to keep leaves and rubbish out. I seem to remember that they germinated very well in about February still left outside.
                       

                    Share This Page